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Monday, 26 October 2009

The right place at the right time

I go back to work this afternoon after six days off, days which were very badly needed. Half the time was spent at home, with three days in Glastonbury from Tuesday to Friday last week. We enjoyed our time there, despite persistent rain, and in between the showers managed the usual round of shopping, sitting in the Chalice Well gardens (we have been members for years, and stayed at the Retreat House) and the climb up the Tor. To be out and about in the fresh air did me the power of good, and blew away all those persistent thoughts. Now though it is back to normality and the thoughts are coming back (it doesn't take long).

I have had a lot to think about of late with regard to my work. I have been in the job for almost six months and enjoy it more each time that I go. When I am not there I find that I miss the old people and the banter with different members of staff - the hustle and bustle of working in a busy kitchen. The only thing that I don't like is when one of the residents dies.

There have been three deaths since I started there in May, the most recent of which was two weeks ago yesterday. The lady concerned had been ill for some time, so it was not unexpected, but she was deeply loved by all the staff, and it affected most of us quite badly. Don't believe all those stories about nurses not being affected by death.

A few days after that, I was clearing the tables after lunch and talking to the residents like I do, when one of the carers said that I was wasted in my job, and should be a carer myself. I was slightly taken aback and not sure how to react. If I am honest though, the thought had occurred to me that it might be something I was interested in. The thought of all that responsibility though scares me, and there are also practical matters to be considered - am I fit and strong enough for all that lifting, I struggle to move wheelchairs as it is, so how would I manage to get them in and out of the bath? How would I also cope with the smells and the more unpleasant aspects of the job - and do I have the patience? If I was affected so badly by the last lady's death as a simple housekeeper, how would it be if I was her carer and more closely involved? Do I really want all of that?

On the other hand, this could be a new career for me (albeit with continuous training and heavy regulation). There is no denying that the extra money and hours would be useful and do much to improve my life - my boss tells me I am not the same person who started there six months ago. I mentioned the idea to her and she said that if I do decide that this is what I want, she will support me to achieve this, which I am naturally pleased about, but when I think about the practicalities I am not convinced that it is for me. I haven't really been there long enough to know. Once I have been there for a year then I may re-assess, but for the moment I believe that I am in exactly the right place. This way I can remain detached, while still making a difference - and I know from what my colleague said that I do.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Missing Lundy

I am really missing the island of Lundy at the moment, which until recently, I escaped to two to three times a year. I am not sure if it is the island itself that I miss, or the idea of it, and am no longer certain as to whether I even know the difference.

This is the time of year when I normally start to think about going again to set me up for the winter months, so it is natural in some ways for me to feel this way. The island after all, has been a part of my life for a long time. My whole lifestyle has been built around it - and I even have a separate Lundy wardrobe.

I find I am craving the idea of fresh air, silence and solitude - something that despite living here surrounded by beautiful countryside, I miss. There is something about the island and its way of life that magnifies its beauty - everything is there in equal balance - the elements of earth, air, fire and water, reflected in the island's and my own, bountiful spirit.

I know though that no matter how intense the craving gets, it is not one I can afford to indulge if I wish to go to Iceland next year. At the moment I am hard pushed to afford even the three nights in Glastonbury we have booked later on this month - we both though need the break.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

The weirdest dream - but what does it mean

Last night I had the weirdest and most disturbing dream about my sister - I dreamt that she died and I attended her funeral. I can't remember who was with me, but I guess it is not important anyway, the important bit is how I felt about the whole experience, while I was in that experience.

A dream like this can have several meanings, and I can only guess based on the relationship I have with my sister as to what it may mean. Most websites I have looked at state that a dream about death does not necessarily mean physical death - I think I had already worked that bit out. It means the death or the ending of a certain phase in your life, or perhaps that the way in which you have been relating to the person concerned has or needs to change. All of this could be true in my sister's case, for I have been having much more compassionate thoughts about her of late, despite the letters that she has been sending (there have been none for about a week now). However, it can also symbolise a part of yourself that you have buried and wish to deny - we all have plenty of these. I also been aware of late in many ways just how similar my sister and I are - I do not of course have schizophrenia, but there are plenty of shared, perhaps inherited, family traits and mannerisms.

This one particular website states that the dreamer may feel resentment towards the person being buried, who symbolises this repressed part of their self. The dreamer may alternatively be worrying about their health or feel that they wish to bury the past (actually I thought I already had). If any of this applies, then the dreamer needs to examine the emotions and bring them to the surface to look at. I have been re-examining and evaluating my relationship with a lot of things these past few months, since leaving my old job. Jobs have a way of making you do that. Of course in my new job, in a nursing home, I am surrounded by death - it is almost an occupational hazard that sooner or later the residents will die - two of them have already in the five months since I began work there, and another one isn't doing too well. I think though she will hang on for a while, and the dream clearly was not about her.

Personally I feel that this dream is about the separation of the different dimensions, which Karen Bishop has written about for the past year or so. Around the time of the autumn equinox, those of us who were sufficiently spiritually evolved made a choice as to whether to move into the next fourth dimension or to stay in the old third dimensional world. Coran has been ready for this for a long time, while I hesitated because of guilt at leaving my sister behind (there is no way that she would be ready for such a leap as this). There is something about this dream that makes me feel that it marked the turning point for me, at which I made the choice to leap into the abyss and finally make my choice. The funeral then to me, since the overwhelming emotion was grief, represented that final etheric separation that took place between my sister and I.

This was the kind of dream that I will not easily forget, but will I suspect stay with me for a few days, while I acclimatise to this new space. I should have known that something was coming, since I have been feeling ungrounded and emotional for days. I put it down to hormones, but now I think it may have been something else. This was why it was important for me to write about the experience as soon as I arose, and I am glad that I did, for in the months to come, I can look back on this and use it as a gauge to see how far our relationship has moved, not just with my sister, but also with myself.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Ethical Farmville

I have been playing Farmvile, which is a very addictive farming type game on Facebook for about a month now and am enjoying it very much. It occurs to me though that this is more than just a game, for it could be used as model for good practises in world farming - showing the real farmers how it can and perhaps should be done.

What if everyone were to plant crops and trees that were native only to their own country? This might be a problem for Europeans since most of the crops are designed to grow in an American climate, which is as varied as the country herself, but with a little thought I am sure it could be done. The same with trees - we could refuse or immediately sell, all non native trees that we are gifted and harvest just the native ones, such as apple and apricot. The animals, apart from the baby elephants which harvest ridiculous circus peanuts, are of course farmed in the real world almost everywhere (ivory is farmed in some parts of south-east Asia), so there is no problem there, and as for the orphaned animals, well these could be used as a lesson for children in bullying, which again has been in the news of late. Petting your animals on a regular basis will ensure that they feel loved and appreciated, resulting in a higher yield of better quality.

I admit that I do not follow most of the practises mentioned above, but my partner is endeavouring to, and his farm is thriving, even though he only has five neighbours (I now have twenty five). I may not buy exclusively European crops, but I do like to practise the art of crop rotation - that is, planting different crops each time I sew something, or at least planting them in different areas around the farm. At the moment I have a mixture of water melons, artichokes, squash and egg plants (aubergine to us). The squash and egg plants should be ready later this afternoon, while the water melons and artichokes will take another three days. Of course what I should also do is try and sew seasonal crops - which at the moment I suppose should be root vegetables. I have not got to the necessary level to buy a lot of these as yet, although squash could be considered to be seasonal since it does appear in the supermarkets in the autumn.

It is also good to let your land lie fallow for a while in between crops and not be too eager to make profit - it is after all only a game, and land like people, needs to rest now and then so that it can recover its fertility (shouldn't be a problem with all those animals I have!). My farmer needs to rest too, so I have provided her with a picnic bench and a rest tent so that she can sit back and enjoy eating (and drinking) the rewards of all her hard work. Another reason to sew a varied harvest of crops is of course so that she can enjoy a varied diet, thus maintaining her health and providing her with more energy with which to farm (what was that about it only being a game?!). I have decided that my own farm is organic which will help provide even more nutrients. My animals are also of course free range.

It seems then to me that Farmville is an opportunity to practise what you preach and put all these ethical things into practise. It could be if you like, a model for how we would like our food to be produced, and if the current situation with soil depletion and falling water levels continues in some regions of the world, may be forced to go back to.